Senegal is in the westernmost part of Africa’s Sahel region, spanning 196,722 km². In 2016/17, the population is estimated at 15.3 million, with the 2013 census (
Senegal is one of the most stable countries in Africa, with three peaceful political transitions and four presidents since its independence from France in 1960: Leopold Sedar Senghor (1960–1980), Abdou Diouf (1981–2000), Abdoulaye Wade (2000–2012) and, since March 2012, Macky Sall.
On 20 March 2016, Senegal held a referendum to vote on measures to strengthen its political system. The next presidential election is due in 2019, while legislative elections are planned for
Senegal’s macroeconomic performance in 2016 was strong, with economic growth stable at 6.6% after an only slightly lower growth rate of 6.5% in 2015, making Senegal the second fastest growing economy in West Africa behind Côte d’Ivoire, and the fourth fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
Boosted by fishing and agriculture, the primary sector led growth in 2016,
Senegal’s current account deficit fell from 7.0% of GDP in 2015 to 6.5% in 2016, as exports increased faster than imports. Lower energy imports partially compensated for higher imports of food and capital goods. Similarly, the fiscal position improved as the government capped recurrent expenditure and increased tax revenue—surpassing 20% of GDP—thus leaving space for public investment. As a result, the fiscal deficit fell from 4.8% of GDP in 2015 to 4.2% in 2016. Public debt increased to 60% of GDP in 2016 from 56.7% in 2015, but the risk of debt distress remains low, according to the latest DSA.
The outlook remains favorable. The external current account deficit should stabilize at around 7.0% of GDP as exports continue increasing but grants and remittances fall as a share of GDP. On the fiscal side, consolidation is expected to continue as the country aims to drive the deficit to 3.0% of
The implementation of the PSE remains the main challenge. Its structural impact might be lower than expected or delayed by technical restrictions or other evolving priorities. Agriculture volatility, dependent on climate, may affect growth too. Global oil and food prices could recover more rapidly, putting pressure on Senegal’s external balance sheet.
Poverty remains high in Senegal, affecting 46.7% of the population. GDP growth is well below the rates necessary for significant poverty reduction, and a growing reliance on capital-intensive exports rather than labor-intensive sectors limits the creation of new jobs.
Inequality is moderate, however, geographic disparities are very pronounced, with almost two out of every three residents considered poor in rural areas, especially in the south, versus one in four in Dakar. Progress has been made on access to education, but
Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017